To those of you who play racing games, I pose this question: Don’t you find that a lot of titles out there seem to include the same cars? I’m not saying the well-known enthusiast mainstays don’t deserve the attention, but the world of cars is vast, and I for one would love to see developers and publishers think a little more outside the box with respect to the cars they include in their racing games. To that end, here are 10 recommendations for cars we’d love to see more frequently in the pixel world of racing games.
1995 Renault Espace F1
In 1995, Renault stuffed a V10 engine from a 1993 Williams Formula 1 car into an Espace minivan. Of course, what it turned into was something quite different: an 800-horsepower, mid-engined monster that to date has only been featured in Gran Turismo 2. That’s a crime.
1995 Ford GT90 Concept
What can we say: ’95 was a great year for cars. The same year the Espace F1 happened, Ford gave us the GT90 — its first stab at resurrecting the legendary GT40. It was one of the stars of Need for Speed II, and also appeared in Codemasters’ Toca Race Driver series and Project Gotham Racing 3. But Forza has never had it, and Gran Turismo hasn’t included it since 1999. That’s a grave shame. And just so we’re clear, all of this likewise applies to the 1996 Ford Indigo concept in the opening slide, too.
2001-05 Porsche 911 GT2 (996)
Frankly I believe we need more 986- and 996-gen Porsches in games in general — game developers shouldn’t capitulate to bad public opinions and participate in fried-egg erasure. GT7 and both Forza series have had the 996 GT3, which is wonderful. But what about the baddest egg of them all, the GT2? This was one of the most dominant cars in 2001’s Project Gotham Racing and served as a secret reward for completing all the Challenge Series events in the original NFS: Most Wanted. I don’t recall seeing it in a game since the mid-aughts.
1998-99 Toyota GT-One (TS020)
Toyota campaigned the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1998 and ’99 with the Marlboro-liveried GT-One, codenamed TS020. Although the car never won, it was exceptionally quick, and became my personal prototype of choice in games like the original Forza Motorsport, Test Drive Le Mans and Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec, which also included the one-off street version. Today, you can find it in Project Cars 3 and… that’s pretty much it.
Any Tesla, Really
Divorced from the perception of Tesla by the people who either worship the company or wouldn’t be caught dead in one of its products, the truth is, Tesla is the most influential auto brand today. Therefore, it really ought to be better represented in the digital space.
Tesla isn’t completely allergic to video games; an early-run Model S from 2012 and the P90D variant from 2016 appeared in GT7 and Forza Horizon 3, respectively, and the original Tesla Roadster showed up in PGR4 before that. But that’s it. I’d lobby the company to be more active in licensing one of its more recent models, but Tesla doesn’t have a marketing department to speak of, which is probably how we got here in the first place.
2001 Volkswagen W12 Nardo Concept
Volkswagen’s supercar testbed inspired the German automaker to punch above its weight with the Phaeton full-size luxury car and, of course, the Bugatti Veyron. But it never made production, and after appearing in a string of titles into the late aughts, it’s disappeared from the gaming space, too. These cars looked flawless — and unlike other concepts, they ran, too. It’s high time the W12 returned to the format.
1989-93 Vector W8 Twin Turbo
The Vector W8 really was the perfect car for the last game I remember it appearing in, Gran Turismo 2. Back then, on the original PlayStation, car models were terribly blocky anyway, so I imagine the game’s designers were able to create a convincing digital facsimile of the troubled American supercar by stitching like seven polygons together. Alas, Vector as a company has been dead for a very long while, so if the W8 was to make it into a video game for the first time in 20 years, it would probably require the current licence holder to come forward. So if you own what’s left of Vector, please say so in the comments, and let’s work this out.
2000 Ferrari 550 Barchetta Pininfarina
It takes about 20 years, if you ask me, for a car to go from being new and cool in the public eye, to becoming uncool, then turning cool again. It happened dramatically with the Porsche Carrera GT — which the world has thankfully come around to once again — and I think it applies to a number of Ferraris from the early 2000s as well. Forza Horizon 5 happens to have this era solidly represented with the likes of the 360 Modena, Enzo and 575M, but personally my favourite front-engine Ferrari of the modern era has always been the 550 Maranello. Especially the gorgeous limited-number Barchetta, which featured in NFS: Hot Pursuit 2, OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast and Project Gotham Racing 2.
Anything Made by Tommykaira
If not for Gran Turismo, I might never have known about Tommykaira — the tuner-turned-(briefly)-carmaker that gave us the adorable ZZ and ambitious ZZII before being absorbed by Autobacs, designing the Garaiya and vanishing. I’d love to see any of those cars wind up in a modern racer, and it’s likely that the original ZZ stands the best shot, because hundreds of them were made, making for a decent pool for scanning and media capture purposes.
1994-2000 Mitsubishi FTO
What the hell happened to the Mitsubishi FTO? Seriously, this car was in every Gran Turismo, until it suddenly wasn’t. The omission is odd, especially as other similar ’90s JDM icons — the Civic and Integra Type-R, AE86 duo, Silvia, Celica and so on — continue to feature in newer games and receive adoration the world over. The FTO is getting a raw deal! Somebody call up Mitsubishi.
2022 Hyundai N Vision 74 Concept
Let’s end on a recent note. Not a whole lot of time has passed since we first saw Hyundai’s hydrogen-powered N Vision 74 concept, but we all fell in love with it. That means it would naturally present a stellar addition to any racing game’s roster.
Unfortunately, I’m not terribly certain that’ll come to pass. Modern concept cars don’t seem to be finding their ways into games as often as their predecessors — unless they were commissioned by the developers, like the Vision Gran Turismo initiative. Maybe the press cycle moves too fast to justify it? Who’s to say, but the point remains: if Hyundai’s tungsten wedge was destined for some digital haven, you’d think we would have an inkling by now. I’ll hold out hope for next year’s Forza Motorsport reboot.
Those are just some of the cars we wish we saw more often in today’s racing games. What models do you think developers are missing out on? Let us know in the comments.
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